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Are College Students Allowed To Leave Campus?

College is a new adventure with a lot more freedom than we were used to. But there are still some rules you need to keep in mind. With that, you might want to ask if college students can leave campus? 

College students, including on-campus residents, are allowed to leave campus. However, they must also abide by the campus policies about entry and exit, such as curfews. During the pandemic, students are discouraged from leaving but aren’t restricted.

This article will discuss the rules and policies on leaving campus. We’ll also discuss living on-campus and off-campus, detailing the advantages and disadvantages. 

Rules when leaving campus.

Campus Policies About Leaving Campus

While most facilities and things that students need, like grocery stores, gyms, and libraries, are already on campus, the freedom to leave campus is still an important matter to consider. It allows them access to other resources that may not be in the university or go home should an emergency arise. 

Colleges may implement unique policies that cover the entry and exit of students. 

Invariably, on-campus residents would abide by more stringent rules imposed by their residence halls. Extreme measures may also be set during a pandemic, wherein mobility is restricted to avoid exposure.

COVID-19 Restrictions

When the Covid-19 situation worsened in many countries, most institutions heightened security measures to protect their constituents. Many students were asked to leave campus and go home.

Intense quarantine and social distancing practices were implemented for those who couldn’t go home. Students would stay in rooms alone for a long time, with meals delivered to their doorstep to avoid exposure. 

Leaving campus may have even been restricted at that time.

Now that vaccination efforts and other public health policies have helped bring down the cases of Covid-19, colleges are going back to normal in countries like the United States. However, it also brought about the implementation of new policies such as mandatory or incentivized vaccination (source).

Regarding leaving the campus, most students, including on-campus residents, are now allowed. However, they’re strongly encouraged to practice safety measures such as washing hands, wearing masks, and social distancing. They’re reminded to be cautious and avoid exposure (source).

Prairie View A&M University also notes that policies may change should the situation worsen. Meanwhile, Purdue University asks students who traveled far to take the test upon return and quarantine if they come from overseas. Allegheny College encourages its students to find work on campus instead of going out often (source). 

Sources: Prairie View A&M University, Purdue University, and Allegheny College.

Leaving Campus for Holidays

Many students are required to go home during holidays, like Christmas. Residence halls might even close and force students to leave during this time. 

During the holidays, follow residence hall policies on checking out and checking in. They may also conduct security checks during the break. Some may require you to take a Covid-19 test and isolate upon return. 

Students at Roanoke College may have to pay additional fees if they delay leaving or stay during breaks. Residence hall staff will conduct safety and security checks during this time, and if there are violations or damages found, students will be charged accordingly (source).

Off-Campus vs. On-Campus Accommodation

Most colleges encourage students to stay on campus instead of looking for off-campus accommodations. Many even require first-year and second-year students to become on-campus residents, if they’re under a certain age. So, if on-campus residents can also leave campus freely, why do some prefer living off-campus?

On-Campus Residence

In terms of safety and finances, staying in campus dormitories or residence halls is cheaper than paying for off-campus accommodation. They have cable, internet, and security covered by relatively affordable fees. 

The downsides would be some of the strict policies. 

While you can leave and come to your private apartment anytime you want, many residence halls implement curfews. Going beyond curfew may mean getting locked out, so while you can leave easily, it might still not work out for people who work odd hours and can’t make it in time. 

Although more dormitories no longer impose curfews, it’s still awkward to come and go at early hours since you might disturb your roommates or residence hall staff. 

Another disadvantage is the lack of privacy. Most dorm rooms are shared, and often, you can’t choose your roommates. Because there are also many people, it can get noisy and uncomfortable. Private rooms are reserved for those with medical or religious necessities but are often limited and more expensive (source). 

Off-Campus Residence

Getting an apartment or place outside campus may offer much freedom and flexibility, but it can be expensive. Expenses like rent, transportation, utilities, and the internet often discourage many from living off-campus. 

However, if you live with friends, you can have people you can share the costs with. 

Others prefer off-campus residence because of privacy, comfort, and freedom. You can leave and return anytime you need. However, apartment security may be costly, so leaving your place unattended often may not be as safe as you think it is.

Also, it may be harder to access free or cheap resources within campus like health clinics or libraries since they’re farther away. 

Off-campus residents can also cook their own food since they can get apartments with full kitchens. Most dormitories only have microwaves, which makes cooking hard. See What Do College Dorms Come With?

Final Thoughts  

Being able to leave campus easily is a convenience that matters for many students. Although all students can come and go, subject to campus policies, it’s relatively easier for off-campus residents to leave than on-campus residents. 

Either way, it’s essential to respect the rules and inform the proper authorities should you plan to leave for a long time. Suddenly disappearing for a time without telling them may cause problems for them and you.   

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